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10 May 2017

Signing Soon? Nicol claims Liverpool will replace 'Lovren' with 'fantastic' £25m powerhouse

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Should Liverpool sign Michael Keane? Reds legend Jamie Carragher doesn't think so, but according to ex-Red Steve Nicol, Keane has the ability to be a good signing for the club.

On Monday, The Mirror claimed:

"Liverpool are closing in on the £25m capture of Michael Keane. Personal terms have been agreed".

When asked about Keane on Monday Carra told Sky Sports:

"I don't think he [Keane] isn't quite at [Liverpool's] level [and] if you're paying £25m, you want to put him straight in your team to make a massive difference."

Speaking to ESPN this week, Nicol dismissed Carra's criticism, and claimed that £25m is a 'fair price' for a young English player:

"He [Keane] doesn’t have to dislodge Alan Hansen or Mark Lawrenson; he’s going to dislodge Lovren, who is not reliable. Keane is consistent, solid, and you know what you’re getting. I’ll take it".

Nicol has a point. With his regular injuries, Lovren is unreliable, and even when he's fit, it's not as if he is irreplaceable and/or a world-beater. Like Keane, Lovren is a solid, Premier League performer, and the only real difference between the two is that Keane is unlikely to be injured as much as Lovren. Nicol also has a point about the transfer fee. Man City splurged £47.5m on John Stones, a similarly-aged English defender, so £25m is (comparatively speaking) a bargain.

If Liverpool sign Keane for £25m, he'll become the club's most expensive ever defender, and that will inevitably come with increased pressure to perform. Can Keane handle the pressure? Lovren couldn't, and it took him well over a year to settle down and start performing.

Liverpool can't afford to wait a year for Keane to settle in; he needs to hit the ground running, and if there's any doubt over his ability to do that, Klopp should look elsewhere for a new centre-half.

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